Many years ago, my very good friend Vong told me that she was hooked on some Korean television dramas. I remember thinking – really Vong – how can you watch that kind of Asian fluffy drama? Now we fast-forward another 10 years and Vong and I are having regular phone conversations about what Korean dramas and Korean movie stars we love. I admit it, I am hooked on Korean television dramas.
Here are the reasons why I have gotten hooked on Korean television dramas 1) Jane Austen would approve, 2) great actors and actresses, 3) well-developed characters, 4) you will laugh, 5) you will cry, 6) you see yourself in the drama, 7) good clean fun, 8) usually has a happy ending, 9) great fashion, 10) lots of food and 11) I have learned to bow and say “thank you” in Korean.
If you have not tried to watch a Korean drama you need to start to watch one. I admit at first I was apprehensive, but now I am glad that I did as I am hooked!
Jane Austen Would Approve
I am a huge Jane Austen fan. I feel that many of the modern-day Korean drama television shows are like a great Jane Austen novel and Jane Austen would have approved.
You have the character who is poor but a very good person (ie Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice), the rich person who you may first think is spoiled or stuck up, but later discover is very likable (Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice). You have the rich girl or boy who at first you think is shallow but later discover their hidden depth (Emma).
Just like in a Jane Austen novel, in the Korean television dramas you have a whole bunch of human misunderstandings, and assumptions. And even some evil characters that show us that evil never wins but good and love will prevail.
A Korean drama, like with a great Jane Austen story, is never 100% straight forward. There are plots, sub-plots, meddling families and relatives, and a bunch of other stories going along with the main story. You get hooked with the main story and the subplots.
This is why I say that Jane Austen would have approved of the Korean television dramas. And why I also see Korean dramas as a modern-day Jane Austen story.
Actors and Actresses are Great
There are surprisingly really top-notch Korean actors and actresses. Even many of the supporting Korean actors or actresses are amazing and fit in their roles so well.
I am not sure who is doing the casting, but on many of the dramas, I have watched on Netflix they have some really well-developed characters. The actors and actresses are very believable and seem very much at home in their roles. Even though I am reading subtitles the entire show, and I hardly speak a word of Korean, I can still feel their personalities on the screen.
Well Developed Characters
I really like the characters. I find that they are really well developed. In a sense when I am watching a Korean series they become a part of me. I may find myself during the day thinking about them and wondering about them.
There are not that many western movies or series where I think about the characters as much as I do about these Korean television dramas. When I am waiting to watch the next episode, I find myself thinking about the plot and wondering what will happen next.
This is because these movies have some really well-developed characters, just like a great Jane Austen novel. My grandfather used to say that Jane Austen was his favorite author as she really understood human nature. I feel this way about many of the Korean television dramas – they understand human nature.
You Will Laugh
I have laughed more times than I can tell you while watching some of the Korean dramas. Sometimes I have laughed so hard I could hardly breathe.
There is usually a lot of great and fun comedy in the really good Korean television dramas. So be ready to be entertained and have some good laughs.
You Will Cry
But you will also cry. There can be some really touching scenes in those movies. And OH MY how the Korean men can cry. It is rare that you see men cry in western movies, but in the Korean dramas be ready to see many of the men cry and show emotion. Some of them will be on screen just bawling their eyes out.
For those of us who live in Asia, we do not see much emotion like this in Asia, so I feel these dramas are a way for this emotion to be let out. After 30 years in Asia, I have never seen an Asia man bawling his eyes out on a street corner.
I can see myself in many of the characters. I relate to them. I think this is one of the great things about the Korean television dramas in that the dramas bridge the cultural divide and relate across cultures.
The writers, producers, and the entire team that produces these dramas have done an amazing job to bridge this cultural gap – that even me – an American, can see myself in many of these Korean drama characters.
The shows are usually just good clean fun. That is also why I say that Jane Austen would approve. Her characters always spent a lot of time to fall in love. They did not kiss in the first 10 minutes and then sleep together in the next 10 minutes.
Korean dramas have that kind of pace. You realize that this person probably likes this person, but it takes a long time for the process to develop. Kind of a bit like a teaser. As I said to a friend who is another Korean drama fan it is sex without sex. So much so that a few times I had to skip to watch the last episode just to make sure they got together. Even then it is just a kiss, not someone rolling in bed naked with someone else.
So if you have children in the house and you do not want them to see an adult movie, no worries most Korean Dramas are good clean fun that you can watch with anyone.
Usually Have Happy Endings
Most of the dramas I watch have a happy ending. There may be some death and one of the heroes or heroines die, but usually, the ending leaves on a happy note. I like that. I want to watch a show that makes me think but also leaves me feeling happy. I feel that way about most of the Korean dramas I have watched.
Many of the dramas have some really interesting fashion. First of all, I am not sure why Korean men seem to never wear any socks. Loafers without socks are the rage. I just wonder why no one seems to freeze in the snow without socks on. Also, some of the men’s jackets and coats are bright red with bold flowers and designs. It is like fashion you may see on the catwalk of the Paris runway fashion week show.
And the women show us a whole new fashion sense. It is OK to wear cute tennis shoes with a cute dress. Or nice oversized sweaters, high heels, and a cute short skirt.
If you are an Asian fashion fan, many of these Korean dramas have a really great sense of fashion.
Lots of Food
Korean dramas have a lot of food and eating. I always smile when I see two people on screen, sitting in a noodle restaurant making huge slurping noises as they eat their noodles. Not so much different than if you went into an actual noodle restaurant in Asia as chances are the guy or gal sitting next to you may also be making loud slurping noises.
There also seems to be quite a bit of drinking. Another Asia past time they put in the movies and put on screen.
Learn to Bow
Now after watching so many Korean dramas I can politely bow like a Korean and say gamsahabnida (감사합니다) or thank you in Korean. I am now ready for my next trip to Korea.
Korean dramas can be addictive. So just be aware that when you watch one you will need to watch others. Just know that I have warned you.
You can find Korean dramas on Netflix. We recommend starting with one of our favorites ”Crash Landing On You.” Our other favorites are Romance is a Bonus Book, Chocolate and Cinderella, and the Four Knights.
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